I've been to Napa before on my own, with friends and even on another tour shuttle but this was by far the best experience I've had of Napa, and I'm local! Sue, our driver, was also a fantastic guide who regaled us with stories, history and awesome jams. She was prompt in picking us up yet still very patient when some of our fellow tourists were 10 minutes late. We had an unusually small group of four, which initially was uncomfortable for me because I was expecting to hide anonymously in the crowd, but it turned out to be a good group and I credit Sue for opening us all up and keeping things lively. We visited four wineries that Sue chose (we didn't mind, we weren't picky), and yet that still took us the whole day and then some - we went an hour over our expected time with no complaints or rush from Sue.
The first winery was a fancy affair in Oakville called Tamber Bay. So here's the thing with Platypus - wine tasting fees aren't included in the tour fee BUT they get you great discounts. We got a $45 tasting for just $20 and it was obviously an expensive tasting indeed. We had a great guide who loved making cheesy jokes and taught us a great deal about tasting wine - a lesson we carried with us for the rest of the wineries that day.
The second winery was a small one, Fulton Winery, but it likewise had great staff. Steph was lovely and taught us more about the difference between opened and unopened wine. They also had a lovely deck where we had a healthy lunch of sandwiches and kinwa salad, courtesy of Platypus. It was tasty and didn't weigh your stomach down which was perfect for more wine tasting.
The third winery, Casa Nuestro, seemed even smaller but the key feature was their two goats! We got to feed them and didn't even have to pay a feeding fee like some other places would do. Inside, we got the standard tasting for $10. While they poured short, they did give us an extra tasting directly out of one of their wine barrels in the back.
The last place was actually a tasting room for the Hill Family, which we didn't mind because we'd literally driven all over Napa by then and gotten our fill of the sights and vineyards. We got great service - got our own table in fact, with a plate of Bouchon bread, cheese, and nuts. April, the lady serving us, stayed with us for most of the time and told us all kinds of stories about the winery and even tips on renting a car. She even threw us some different wines that weren't on the standard tasting menu based on our groups preferences, which made the experience a very personal one.
All in all, it was a lovely day where I learned so much about wine and Napa. I highly recommend Platypus Tours, even if you're a local who thinks they know everything. You're sure to learn something new with Platypus, even if it may just be discovering a new winery to love. They make a point to bring you to unique wineries for a different experience every time. I would definitely use them again next time I want to tour wine country.
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